This painting dates from early in Grimshaw's career, when he was experimenting with many different types of subject: the moonlight scenes with which he made his name did not appear in his oeuvre until 1867. Grimshaw married his cousin Frances Theodosia Hubbarde, daughter of James Dibdin Hubbarde, editor of the Wakefield Journal, in 1858. In 1861 he resigned as clerk to the Great Northern Railway and devoted himself to painting, principally still lives of fruit and blossom on mossy banks. In 1862 he held his first known exhibition, and in 1863, the year this picture was painted, he first visited the Lake District, painting Nab Scar, a tour de force of Pre-Raphaelite technique, in 1864. Both in terms of technique and subject matter, the present painting also betrays his interest in the Pre-Raphaelites: Ophelia (now in Tate Britain) was famously painted by Millais in 1852 and was widely reproduced in engraving.
We are grateful to Alexander Robertson, Curator, Leeds City Art Gallery, for his help in the preparation of this catalogue entry.